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Reviewed by Elizabeth Butts for Readers' Favorite
Simple Triple Standard pulls the curtains back on the 'glory days' of radio, the 1970s, and lets the reader experience life on the other side of the microphone. Simple Triple Standard opens at a small AM radio station, KNUT, and follows the newsman, Bryant Herman, as he not only reports on the local and national news, but also what it's like to be a young news reporter in Austin, TX in 1972. The easy lifestyle for KNUT changes as competition arrives, and suddenly their tried and true format is challenged with the arrival of 'Morning Zoo' on the competitor station. This is a period in radio where radio stations had to make an important decision: adapt to the changes, or become obsolete.
Ray Palla has done an exemplary job of not only telling what was like to work in radio, but also in explaining the technical things (carts, Arbitron, Marantz, the difference between the AM and FM frequencies). He utilized some legendary call letters in the Austin radio market, which made this book read more like non-fiction at times than fiction. Having personally worked in radio in the 1990s, it was a coming home of sorts for this reader; remembering 'carting up' production bits and music beds, and enjoying the time when radio was fun (before automation and computer editing).
For radio enthusiasts, this is a must-read. Mr. Palla has put his experience as a radio reporter into the pages, letting you see the truth of the evolution of radio through the '70s into the '80s. The path of the book deviates here and there as Bryant ponders life in the future ('90s and 2000s), but the feel of the 'sink or swim' lifestyle of the radio personality, combined with the euphoria of a killer segment, is felt when experienced by the characters in Simple Triple Standard.